Managing comparative linguistic expressions (CLEs) information is a key issue in group decision-making (GDM). A transformation approach has been previously defined to convert CLEs into hesitant fuzzy linguistic terms sets (HFLTSs). However, it is noted that the occurring possibilities of the linguistic terms in the HFLTSs are assumed equal. This assumption might sometimes not capture the real opinions of the decision makers. Linguistic distribution assessments (LDAs) are an effective way to deal with this issue. This paper develops a linguistic distribution-based optimization approach for converting CLEs into LDAs, in which we assume that decision makers provide their opinions using preference relations with CLEs. Particularly, the proposed optimization approach is based on the use of a consistency-driven methodology, which seeks to minimize the inconsistency level of LDA preference relations obtained by transforming the original CLE preference relations elicited from decision makers. The linguistic distribution-based optimization approach is further developed to transform CLEs into interval LDAs to increase their flexibility. Moreover, society and technology trends make it possible to involve and manage large groups of decision makers in GDM environment. So, a large-scale GDM framework with CLE information is designed based on the linguistic distribution-based optimization approach. To justify the effectiveness and applicability of the proposed methodology, it is applied to solve a real large-scale GDM problem, pertaining the selection of best sustainable disinfection technique for wastewater reuse projects. A comparison against a baseline method is likewise provided to highlight the advantages and innovations of our proposal.
- Comparative linguistic expressions
- linguistic distribution assessments
- fuzzy and interval fuzzy preference relations
- large-scale group decision making